The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) president, Dana White, will encourage the continuation of all UFC events amid the pandemic, after a conversation with his longtime associate US President Donald Trump, The Daily Mail reported Saturday.
"I talked to the president and the vice president of the United States about this. They're taking this very serious. They're saying, 'Be cautious, be careful, but live your life and stop panicking'. Everybody is panicking, and instead of panicking, we're actually getting out there and working with doctors and health officials and the government to figure out how we can keep the sport safe and how we can continue to put on events", White said, cited by The Daily Mail.
The UFC has not canceled or postponed competitions, even those previously slated for areas where large gatherings are now banned.
The UFC will reportedly conduct its next upcoming events - in Brazil and Las Vegas - to empty stands, relying on cable access to bolster the organization's business model. According to the organizers, UFC athletes are not paid to train, preparing only if an event is scheduled.
"We're always looking out for the health and safety of our fans, our athletes, whatever it might be [...] This thing going on, we're going to do the same thing. We're going to make sure that two healthy athletes are competing, and these guys are good to go", White said, cited by The Daily Mail.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has now registered over 156,000 cases of the coronavirus across the globe, with over 5,700 dead.